Home Tour: A Modern Small Space in San Francisco
Tired of raising their family in the suburbs, a young family decamped from San Francisco’s suburban South Bay to a brand-new luxury condo in the city’s South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood, hoping for a more urban experience. After some online research, the couple discovered S.F.-based interior designer Eche Martinez and hired him on the spot at their first meeting. “My client’s had two main goals: one, to make a warm, inviting home for their friends and family, and two, to streamline their storage and organization after moving from a big house in the suburbs to prime urban living,” Martinez tells us.
In addition to thoughtful small-space organization, Martinez also employed a few tricks that would make the most of the petite square footage. “We had the area rug cut to a custom size the fit the space perfectly and reveal some of the wooden floors throughout,” he says.
With amazing views of AT&T Ballpark (a fun nearby attraction for two young boys!), the condo already had a lot of great focal points, but Martinez’s clients shared his love for contemporary art and modern furnishings, so one of the first orders of duty was finding original art. “The biggest challenge, also a fun one, was finding the right mix of artists for their home,” the designer says. “We reviewed different artists from day one, and my clients were avid researchers going to galleries and bringing a ton of great ideas to the table. In the end we’re all very pleased with how the pieces of art we selected became key aspects of the overall design.”
With a base of grays, browns, and off-whites, and pops of reds, corals, and oranges, the color palette of the apartment is carefully curated, yet playful. “The condo had impeccable architectural details but it lacked the warmth of a home a modern family needs,” Martinez says. Through saturated colors and fun patterns like the bird and cloud wallpaper in the kids’ reading nook, the designer lit up the cool, calm foundation.
In the nook, the designer also had shelves custom designed and installed at a lower height than usual. “This was not only allows the kids to access the books but it also makes the walls look bigger.”
Also extremely well traveled, Martinez’s clients wanted to add some influences from their time in West Africa and Asia. To that end, he integrated a variety of eastern patterns and textures, like the grass cloth wallpapers he chose for the master bedroom and powder room. This killed two birds with one stone: “Another goal was to bring texture to otherwise very plain walls and the budget allowed these wall treatments instead of just painting them,” the designer says. “Wallpaper is my favorite item in any project; it’s a single item that can completely transform like no other element.”
Floor-to-ceiling windows are a common feature of many SOMA apartments—and one that requires celebration. “The windows, views, and brightness of the apartment cannot be beat,” Martinez says. “When designing the window coverings we wanted them to be of the simplest possible design without compromising the open feel of the apartment.”
Martinez tells us favorite element of the design are the monster art decals, which he had custom printed and installed above each headboard in the kids’ bedroom. “Both boys were very involved in the design of those adorable little monsters,” he adds.
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"Seven String Etching With Yellow and Red" by Caio Fonseca (price upon request)